The phenomenon that causes people being observed to react differently, the Hawthorne effect, was recently applied to energy conservation in a study by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.
The result of the study was that households reduced monthly electric use by 2.7 percent on average when they were told their energy use would be monitored.
The research was led by Daniel Schwartz, then a graduate student at the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon and who is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Risk Center. It was published in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To learn more about the study and how it was conducted, follow this link.